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I am a political scientist by training but at heart I am a change maker with an insatiable drive to correct the injustices that plague Nigeria.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cut Government Spending USA Presidential Election Rhetoric 2012

During this campaign season we seem to be hearing a lot of phrases such as "Cut government spending." Okay well that may be a catchy campaign phrase, I haven't really heard the candidates articulate what that would look like. So my question is...where are we going to cut?
                Photo from cut-spending. URL:

Let's first talk about Medicare and social security which is where we hear that cuts need to come. So what would this look like? Having the senior citizens of our country without health insurance. Think of the thousands of dollars a month of medical and pharmaceutical bills that our seniors would have to pay for. Worse yet, many would have to go without medical care due to finances. Without social security many of our seniors would be without housing. Would this make us proud as a nation to have our seniors living on the streets?

Cuts to welfare is another area. While I understand that like every other system there are some individuals who are taking advantage of welfare. With that being said, let's look at what cuts to welfare would bring us, we would see an influx of individuals going to shelters which would not be able to handle the capacity. We would see many individuals who rely on welfare as a tool to sustain their family without the ability to provide food or housing. This would again result in countless individuals and families out on the streets.

Cuts in are we looking to have 40 kiddos in a kindergarten class? We will see our students educated in facilities that are below standard? Will we see slashes in educator pay which will result in subpar candidates entering the field which will cause us to slip further and further behind in the global marketplace?

Cuts to our infrastructure. Do we want to see our roadways and bridges not maintained in a quality manner. This would result in unsafe and hazardous conditions for millions of Americans. Do we ever want to see the horrific bridge collapse that occurred in Minnesota in 2007 repeated?

Well I could go on and on and on about government funded get the picture. My call to the candidates is to put some muster behind your words. If you want to cut government spending, tell us where. Just a word of caution...every cut is associated with a face.

Justifiable Raises???

Aminu Waziri Tambuwal Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria

So I think I stumbled across the bill that got the least resistance getting passed in this year’s Nigerian Legislative session. This new law calls for a N27million naira increase of quarterly allowance of members of the House of Representatives from a former N15million naira per Representative, 80% raise for the legislators. While I know that raises can occur for legislators, this timing seems ludicrous.

Do we recall the removal of the fuel subsidy early this year by the Nigeria Government? Not only did this cause mass pandemonium (which was clearly justified), it is still hampering the livelihood of the poor and middle class. If the government can’t afford to keep the fuel subsidy in place, I think a logical wondering is how can these raises be afforded?
A further commentary regarding this matter is the Nigerian Interdenominational National Day of Prayer and fasting that took place Friday March 16th, 2012. While I believe this is a quality sign of unity, I am wondering if there are other ways in which impact can be made. During the National Day of Prayer the participants were praying for the betterment of Nigeria.

Will the prayers bring the fuel subsidy back? Will the prayers bring a higher level of accountability for government officials? Will the prayers fix Nigeria lack of social infrastructure? Will the prayers stop Nigeria terrorist called Boko Haram?

Unfortunately, I think there are better ways to go about revolutionizing the society to bring about a change. The people of Nigeria need to join forces to let their government officials know that their behavior is not appropriate. It is time to unite and start putting on the pressure. Call, e-mail and visit your legislators, do not cave in to the authorities deploying men and women of the Nigeria Police and Army to break up your peaceful protest for change and accountability of the Nigeria society. As Margaret Mead stated, “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
Further reading on related topic:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dinner on backs of tax payers

The Director General of Nigeria Security and Exchange Commission, Arunma Oteh

First off I would like to say that I want to know what this government official was eating for #850,000 naira (equivalent of $5391.6907 US dollars) per day. Can we say champagne taste when she is supposed to be on a beer budget. I am curious as to why this official feels that it is okay for her to spend this type of money. As a government official shouldn't she be modeling fiscally responsible behavior?

Let's talk about the checks and balances. First off why was this allowed? Secondly what is the government going to do about this? Is she going to have to pay the money back? Will she lose her job? It pains me to think of all of the ways in which this money could have been spent to ensure that Nigerians receive the goods and services they are entitled to.

There seems to be a feeling of entitlement among some Nigerian officials. Why do they feel they need to live "high on the hog." It seems as though she feels she is better than the people she serves. It seems to me that those that have the most impact in bringing about change and in being leaders in their positions have a servant mentality. She should be prudent in the usage of the government funds she is responsible for managing. If she spends $5391.6907 on food for herself, how can we have any trust that she is being a good fiscal agent in managing any of the budgets which she oversees?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Leading by Example

One of the things that I find very interesting is the attitude of “devout” Christians. I find in too many situations people try to use God in inappropriate ways. What I am talking about is the folks that are in the “front” seat of church every Sunday but yet embody behaviors during the week that aren’t exactly “front” seat worthy.

Bishop Ted Haggard former USA Republican religious adviser to President Bush lost his mega church after admitting to a relationship with a male prostitute while married.

I find that sometimes when people are put into difficult situations they will “pull” the religious card but yet do not embody at all that same principle in their own behavior. I see people posting religious quotes and Biblical passages on a frequent basis on social media networks. Yet some of those same people are not living the lifestyle in which they want others to perceive they are.

There is a trend among pastors and other clergy to have extramarital affairs or inappropriate sexual rendezvous that are definitely not in line with the faith they are preaching. I also see people criticizing others for behaviors such as having children out of wedlock or divorce yet they themselves got married and had a baby 3 or 4 months later.

Bishop Eddie Long settled out of court several allegations of sexual misconduct with young men in his mission at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church while also married.

I am definitely not here to impose a moral compass or to state that I lead a perfectly Christian life, I am here to say however, that one needs to judge their own actions and behaviors before casting judgment upon others. I find those that don’t profess a certain religious practice to oftentimes be just as if not more honest than those that preach of a certain lifestyle yet do not embody it. Let’s stop the hypocritical, judging behavior and encourage each of us to lead a lifestyle that is genuine and authentic according to one’s own moral compass.